Barnaby’s Not a Huge Fan of Snow

Despite often being thought of as low maintenance cage pets, rabbits actually require a good amount of exercise, both physical and mental, to be happy.  My rabbit, Barnaby, is a senior who just turned 10 last November.  Barnaby has definitely slowed down a bit with age.  He often times prefers a leisurely stroll around his room over running about like a crazy bun.  He sleeps more than he used too.  That being said, Barnaby still very much engages with the world around him.

He may be old and partially blind, but Barnaby is loving life.  He enjoys playing with his toys, visits from his dog brothers, and watching tv.  He loves his food, and after living with us for almost all of his 10 years of life, he finally seems to enjoy a good head/chin rub from his humans.

It makes me happy that my older pets are, so far, still so playful and engaged with life.  I feel like it's, at least in part, due to the fact that I'm constantly trying to think of new, fun ways to keep them mentally and physically active.  You need to, of course, keep your individual pets' limits in mind and don't overdo things, but like with senior humans, older pets can greatly benefit from reasonable amounts of exercise and plenty of mental stimulation to keep their minds active!

Last weekend it snowed here.  Both my dogs really enjoy playing in the snow, but Barnaby is a strictly indoor rabbit.  The few times I've tried letting him explore outside it really, really stressed him out.  Rabbits can die from too much stress, and he obviously doesn't enjoy his time outdoors, so it's been years since Barnaby's paws have touched the ground outside.

So how do you take advantage of the snow and use it to provide novel mental stimulation for a rabbit who can't go outside?  You bring the snow inside to the rabbit, of course!

Except my plan kind of backfired, because Barnaby wasn't impressed.  He sat in the pan of snow for a few minutes, quickly decided it wasn't really eatable, then hoped away.

Oh well.  I'd by lying if I said I was surprised.  A lot of the videos I've seen of rabbits having fun in the snow involve a lot of digging, and Barnaby's never been much of a digger.

If you are like me and enjoy trying to think of new ways to entertain your pets, what ideas have you tried that have been the most successful?  I usually find it pretty easy to find ideas I can try with the dogs, but Barnaby presents a bit more of a challenge.